What It’s About…
What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once?
Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control
What I Thought…
OMG. OMG. OMG. My heart. I am literally writing this review ten minutes after finishing To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, so expect a lot of incoherent ramblings straight from the feels. This book was literally everything I could possibly want in a contemporary, and I think I’ll go to my grave telling anyone who’ll listen to read it. And in case you were wondering; do I regret reading this in one day because I COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN? No. Do I regret giving a contemporary 5 stars? Absoluuutely not when a story is this amazing. Really, my only disappointment is waiting this long to let Lara Jean’s beautifully curated Pinterest aesthetic into my heart. PS I Still Love You is already on hold at the library, but until then I want to relive all the magic that is this book. In fact, I might even need to write a love letter to Jenny Han to get over To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Consider this that.
What my intense adoration for this book really boils down to is the perfection that is Lara Jean. I know most of the negative reviews for TABILB come from readers who found her whiny, naive, and boring, but I could not disagree more. I connected so much to her character from the very first chapter, and think she has a voice YA needs to hear more from. She’s sweet in a genuine, kind way. Not fake nice, or self serving, or invested in petty things. Her big heart bleeds off the page, and I truly loved her for it. Yes, Lara Jean is definitely innocent in a way few other characters are, but her perspective still holds more proximity to real life than any other protagonist I’ve read from recently. It doesn’t hurt either that she’s surrounded by such a great support system, who mirror so many real life families. I can’t even express how refreshing it is to read a YA book where the father is a very present and positive support system, not to mention Lara Jean’s amazing sisters Margot and Kitty. My sister is such a huge part of my life, and it was a major highlight to see such a relationship represented here. Which brings me to the second part of my love affair with this book: how realistic it is.
Lara Jean grows so much from beginning to end, though she’s still nowhere close to perfect. Likely because she had so much of a voice to begin with, but there was a noticeable change in her narration to reflect this; something I don’t see a whole lot of when reading. And, really, how could she not? Lara Jean experiences the evolution of so many of her relationships, from those with her family to her two love interests. It also doesn’t hurt that all of the supporting cast is so excellently written, from Margot and Kitty, to Peter and Josh. The three sisters are pretty much the picture of what female friendship should look like, and each of their spunky voices shine throughout. Margot leaving for college introduces a great jumping off point for a discussion on how families grow and change, that I think all readers can connect with. Not to mention that Kitty is my spirit animal. And obviously I have to give a shout out to Lara Jean’s love interests, especially my boy Peter. Though I wasn’t really feeling the Josh vibes, it goes without saying that I ship LJ+PK. Their dialogue together was hilarious, and he was such a sweetheart. Hands down the best romance I’ve read in 2017.
So obviously I 10/10 would recommend this one if you’re in the (now one smaller) club of readers who have yet to check out To All the Boys I’ve Read Before. Get it off that TBR now!